Blog Archives

Album Review: Mach Dich Frei by Finsterforst


mach_dich_freiIn my CD collection I have a few CDs where I have no idea when or where I bought them.  They just kinda appeared.  One of those is this double CD called Urwerk by Finsterforst.  It’s nothing outstanding; an ok record.  Still for the life of me, I can’t remember ever buying it.  Anyhoo, I’ve only really listened to it a handful of times and it basically sounds like Moonsorrow plus an accordion player hopped up on a cocktail of cocaine and amphetamines.  Not bad, but a tad repetitive, long-winded, and that overload of accordion can get a bit annoying at times.  I do appreciate the ‘what if Korpiklaani were a black metal band’ thing as an experiment, but… Oh, well.  So, when I saw that we got a promo for the latest record from this anomaly in my CD collection I decided to give it a spin to see if these guys were still berating listeners with post-neo-accordion-black-metal.  To my surprise, what I found is nearly a whole different band who kept their best elements, shook their formula around, and sent their accordion player to rehab.  In short, a band which has really matured a lot since my last experience with them.

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Album Review: Beyond the Red Mirror by Blind Guardian


beyond_the_red_mirror_earbook“It sounds like a ‘insert the same band name as the album here’ album.”  In my years as a metal fan and hobbyist writer I have heard and lazily used that phrase way too often.  An Amon Amarth, Primus, Slayer, Tool (one can keep dreaming right?) new album pops up, a quick sum up is requested, and that phrase gets the point across to existing fans quick enough.  It can be a good thing as well as bad.  Sure it says that the pedigree of quality is there but also doesn’t take into account any forward (or backward) progress in the bands unique, established sound may have undergone.  Yet after listening to the newly minted release, Beyond the Red Mirror, from German heart-throbs Blind Guardian I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe it summarily.  It sounds exactly like what you would expect a Blind Guardian album to sound like.  Though, allow me to explore that statement just a tad deeper.

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Album Review: Furyon – Lost Salvation


FuryonLostSalvation

As much as I love complicated rhythms, odd time signatures, blast beats, deathly growls, and other wild riffs and things; sometimes I like music that doesn’t have any of that.  There are numerous bands fitting for what I am talking about, but a standout among the newcomers of the music world is Furyon.  From the southern UK comes the latest album Lost Salvation, the sophomore effort from these classic hard rockers. Read the rest of this entry

Retro Roundtable Review: At the Edge of Time by Blind Guardian


MI0003036053Label: Nuclear Blast

Release Date: July 30th, 2010

Songs: 10

Genre: Symphonic Power Metal

Studio Albums: 9 other ones

Location: Germany

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RoundTable Review: Sylosis – Dormant Heart


sylosis-dormant-heart-300x300Album:  Dormant Heart

Label:  Nuclear Blast

Release Date:  13 Jan 2015

Songs:   14 (including two bonus tracks)

Length:  67 Minutes

Genre:  Death/Thrash

Studio Albums:  2 EPs plus Conclusion of an Age (2008), Edge of the Earth (2011), Monolith (2012) 

Location:  Reading, Berkshire, England  Read the rest of this entry

Matt’s Top 15 Albums of 2014!!!


tumblr_static_cm4blpgifnwo8wokk0wo4scscIt’s that time of year again for arbitrary lists of really great albums that were released since the last time I did one of these things.  Contributing to my absolute burnout of writing about kick ass metal bands, I can not think of another year where there were just so damn many stellar records released.  I simply had to say fuck it, step back, and enjoy the great stuff I already had.  Sure, I missed out on some great stuff, but on the other hand, all killer no filler.  To try to make up for the insane amount of great albums this year I’ve expanded my usual 10 to 15 and will have an honorable mentions post sometime in the near future.  I hope you find yourself something cool to listen to with this list or at least nod in agreement with some of my picks.  Thanks for reading, sticking with AMSOM, and being awesome and stuff.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: The Stats


MetalCatSorting out my year-by-year hit parades taught me a lot about myself and my changing tastes in metal. If you’re ever so bored that you start drawing faces on all the potatoes in the pantry, you may find it interesting and perhaps illuminating to do such an exercise too.

The big pattern was clear to me before I started making my lists. Even with my museum exhibit of a brain I knew that I’d been listening to less symphonic and heavy metal and more of the harder music over the years. My personal average scores for all my selections are thus an average over a long period, not a snapshot of any particular year in that period. If there’s been a constant over those two decades, it would be prog metal.

I used a fairly common scoring system to analyse my hit parades. For some years I had as few as ten selections and for the last year, 2013, I chose 25 songs. For the sake of consistency I cut my lists to the top 10 songs for each year. Then, for each year, I scored 10 points for #1, 9 points for #2, and so on down to 1 point for #10. Microsoft Excel did the rest for me.

But first! Yes! Before I insert my lists, it is is time to reveal one of the best-kept secrets in the Universe… the true identity of Dark Metal Cat, my constant adviser and referee. He’s taken off his costume and revealed himself as…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

… Tiny Tiny Cakey Kitten, a.k.a. Cookie Cat or Caucus Caterus Cattus or Flubby, the world’s fattest thin cat. He doesn’t play the guitar. He’s a keyboard artist. He can make Windows do things I can’t, and he does it often. My darling wife doesn’t like metal and won’t go to sleep on my desk in front of the monitor, so I couldn’t use her to put in creative typing or exit from unsaved work.

My top bands of the last 21 years

1. Opeth (Sweden), Progressive Death Metal: 73
2. Dream Theater (USA), Progressive Metal: 36
3. Riverside (Poland), Progressive Metal: 33
4. Dimmu Borgir (Norway), Symphonic Black Metal: 29
5. Therion (Sweden), Symphonic Heavy Metal: 27
6. TIE: Borknagar (Norway), Folk Black Metal ~and~ Leprous (Norway), Progressive Metal: 26
8. Arch Enemy (Sweden), Melodic Death Metal: 25
9. Ayreon (Netherlands), Progressive Metal: 24
10. Orphaned Land (Israel), Folk Death Metal: 23

My top metal genres and sub-genres of the last 21 years

1. Symphonic Metal: 127
2. Folk Metal: 125
3. Progressive Death Metal: 105
4. Melodic Death Metal: 87
5. Progressive & Experimental Metal: 78
6. Thrash Metal: 60
7. Gothic Metal: 44
8. TIE: Black Metal ~ and ~ Doom Metal: 39
10. Stoner & Sludge Metal: 38

My top metal countries of the last 21 years

1. Sweden: 219
2. USA: 216
3. Norway: 131
4. UK: 122
5. Finland: 86
6. Netherlands: 71
7. Poland: 65
8. Germany: 43
9. Israel: 33
10. Canada: 26

Album Review: Ghost Brigade – IV – One With The Storm


ghost_brigade_one_with_the_storm_54b7ab2377Label:  Music Kickup

Album:  IV – One With The Storm

Release Date:  3 Nov 14

Songs:  12

Length:  79 Minutes (includes two remixed tracks)

Style:  Hard to define

Previous Albums:  Guided By Fire (2007); Isolation Songs (2009); Until Fear No Longer Defines Us (2011)

Location:  Finland

FFO:  Paradise Lost, Katatonia. Opeth  Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Blood & Banjos


a0968299274_10A few years ago during one of my forays into ‘that’ part of the internet I stumbled on a blog called Blood and Banjos.  It was basically about a guy, let’s call him Mike, who was kicking around the idea of making a record that combined his love of bluegrass music with its polar opposite, black metal.  He had a couple of audio clips and ideas posted up, and needless to say, as a lover of any original idea in the realm of metal, I was instantly intrigued and started following the blog regularly.  Over time Mike’s vision started to take shape and the idea of an album began to come to fruition.  He called upon friends and fellow musicians from all over the US and even Europe to offer their skills on his ideas and offer their own.  Then there was a successful Kickstarter campaign which allowed Mike and friends to realize all their ideas, demos, and musings on a full-fledged, professionally recorded album.  Needless to say there was a huge amount of passion and time invested in creating this record, and holy hell does it show!

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Album Review: Cavalera Conspiracy – Pandemonium


CC_Cover_Symbol_v7_#10E0D85Album:  Pandemonium

Label:  Napalm

Songs:  12

Length:  52 Minutes

Previous Albums:  Inflikted (2008); Blunt Force Trauma (2011).

Location:  United States / Brazil

FFO:  Anything that involves Max Cavalera and/or classic Sepultura. Read the rest of this entry